Media Monday: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Star Trek Into Darkness Poster

Image belongs to Paramount

Title: Star Trek Into Darkness
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: J.J. Abrams
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: [from IMDB]

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

Warning: I am not even going to try to stay spoiler free for this one so if you haven’t seen it STOP READING!

Gone? Okay. *begins flailing all over the place* That. Was. AWESOME! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

For those of you who aren’t Trekkies from birth (perhaps, like me, joining the fandom because: Benedict Cumberbatch! ‘Nuff said!) you have a little bit of homework to do. Star Trek Into Darkness is heavily based on The Wrath of Kahn, an original cast movie that, in my opinion, surpasses the rest, both in quality of storyline and awesomely bad retro effects and acting (emphasis on “awesome”). While it is by no means necessary to have seen Wrath of Kahn to appreciate Into Darkness, having that intertextuality only makes the experiences that much more awesome – not gonna lie, “This is what you would have done” almost had me in tears the first time around.

While I will still happily affirm that Wrath of Khan is the best of old Trek, there are several things in Into Darkness that worked better for me. For one thing, the central theme is much more relatable. In Wrath of Khan the psychological tension comes from Kirk and the gang feeling too old to be useful. While this is an issue that would have played well with the original audience, coming back almost 20 years after the first episode, it would never have worked for the new, younger audience they’re trying to attract. Instead, Into Darkness takes on issues of friendship and family. Spock’s journey is especially poignant, as he learns how humans deal with the death of someone close. John Harrison aka Khan also has an especially good development on the theme of what one might do to save their family.

I also really appreciated how complex the storyline is in Into Darkness. Wrath of Khan is part of the “Tell them everything or they won’t get it” school. Plot lines could never be too complex because writers believed the audience couldn’t handle it. Now this theory has been proven wrong, and writers aren’t afraid to experiment. So, instead of one villain, Star Trek Into Darkness has 2, and you’re never quite sure if they’re really bad, or even which side you should be rooting for, as they all have fairly good reasons for the wrong things they do. I would love to see further exploration of internal Star Fleet villainy in future movies.

In short, I absolutely loved the film, and I would encourage anyone to go see it!

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